Intellectual Capital Management: Practical guidelines for an Intellectual Capital Management solution

By Maretha Prinsloo on September 17, 2019

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In this third blog of the 4-part series, we outline our practical guidelines for helping choose an assessment solution.

In order to manage talent, one needs to understand both the work-related requirements and the psychological factors involved. The assessment of these aspects offers a solid foundation for the entire value chain of people- or talent management. We recommend an assessment solution which is guided by the following principles:

  • Cognitive functioning forms an integral and important part of work performance. It refers to a dynamic, adaptive and multi-dimensional factor incorporating intellectual, motivational and consciousness factors, all of which need to be contextualised. A holistic approach is thus required for its measurement and management in the work environment.
  • Besides the psychological factors, cognitive functioning at work is also affected by a wide range of variables such as previously acquired knowledge and skills; physical health and well-being; nutritional factors; past and future exposure and learning opportunities; socio-economic background and circumstances; educational and cultural factors; relationships, love and acceptance by significant others; and spiritual factors related to a personal sense of purpose, to mention but a few.
  • The work and home environments in which a person operates are therefore crucial as cognitive functioning cannot be separated from its context or seen in isolation.
  • To leverage the concept of Intelligence in the work environment involves more than merely “how intelligent” a person is. Each person is perfectly suited to a particular kind of work. Appropriate and sufficient information is thus required to understand, position and develop cognitive functioning.
  • Conventional Psychometric test methodologies are often flawed and rely on limited techniques. The idea is to move away from such inadequate and cross-culturally loaded test practices and to cease assessing educationally acquired skills as is the case with various intelligence test methodologies.
  • More robust methodologies are required, based upon validated theoretical models and automated simulation techniques which operationalise, externalise and track thinking processes. Given the complexities involved in mental functioning, the analysis of candidate responses by means of algorithmic expert systems, AI or machine learning and fuzzy logic, will contribute to the richness in interpretations of assessment results.
  • The ultimate goal of an assessment battery remains that of discovering and mapping the unique territory of an individual mind to honour and position their distinctive repertoire of talents in a way which will facilitate the full realisation of their potential.


The implementation of these principles, as part of an Intellectual Capital Management solution, may involve the following action steps and products, or assessment methodologies:

1. The training and accreditation of HR practitioners in terms of the underlying theory, measurement and utilisation of the constructs which underlie competence at work. For this purpose, Cognadev provides in-depth e-Learning courses on cognition, motivational drive and levels of consciousness, otherwise referred to as valuing systems. The models and methodologies covered by these courses are at present not yet addressed by university courses.

2. Facilitated discussions between HR and line functions are required to contextualise the entire talent management approach. Here the focus should be on the nature and prospects of the industry, the organisational value- proposition, and the core competence of the organisation. The core organisational competencies will inform the job-specific competency requirements to which candidate profiles can be compared. For this purpose, functional job families also need to be identified.

3. This is followed by a job-analysis to determine the Stratified Systems Theory (SST) levels of work complexity of specific job families, as well as the identification of 10 to 12 job-related competency requirements of those roles or job families. The competency definitions need to reflect the correct SST level of work of a position or role, to inform job specs and facilitate the appointment of suitable role players. This is done by means of the Contextualised Competency Mapping (CCM) tool of Cognadev.

4. An organisational audit by means of a volume assessment system further contributes towards an understanding of the talent within the organisation. In addition, a mass recruitment exercise aimed at creating a virtual talent pool, may be useful. Together these mass assessment initiatives will resolve the typical succession problems related to crowding and vacuum. The creation of virtual talent pools will become more critical as the new world of work, characterised by a-typical organisational structures around project-based undertakings, emerges. Cognadev provides a volume assessment tool, called Cliquidity, which holistically assesses candidates and possesses the required functionalities to enable organisational audits and the creation of virtual talent pools.

5. In terms of the assessment of people, cognition, motivation as well as values and culture, need to be addressed as these three factors form a crucial foundation of any intellectual capital management solution:

  • The culture of the organisation is best determined by assessing the executive as well as representative groups of employees from various regions or functional units. Understanding the organisational culture requirements will optimise selection, placement, team compilation, leadership, developmental, and succession solutions within the organisation. For this purpose, Cognadev provides the Value Orientation (VO) assessment tool which is largely based on the Spiral Dynamics (SD) model.
  • Seeing that the proposed Intellectual Capital Management approach mainly rests on levels of work complexity, the cognitive preferences and capabilities of candidates need to be assessed. For the cognitive assessment of existing staff, Cognadev provides the Cognitive Process Profile (CPP) while the assessment of school and university leavers can be undertaken by means of the Learning Orientation Index (LOI). For purposes of mass recruitment and organisational audits, a low-cost volume assessment, the Cliquidity Adaptive Reasoning Assessment (CARA) can be used.
  • Motivation too, is a critical prerequisite of work performance. Constructs related to drive and energy; factors that could energise a person or drain their energy, self-insight, energy themes, defence mechanisms, life scripts, dynamic personality patterns, EQ and motivational patterns, amongst others, can be measured using a non-transparent assessment tool, called the Motivational Profile (MP).

6. Assessment results need to be reported upon by integrating the cognitive, values and motivational profiles of role players with the competency requirements of their work. If possible, not only the psychological results, but information on a candidate’s knowledge and experience as well as performance ratings should be covered by the integrated reports. Seeing that it can be a tiresome and time-consuming job to compile hand-written reports, Cognadev has developed an automated report generator, namely the Integrated Competency Report (ICR). These integrated person-job matching competency reports are also very useful for feedback purposes and for future performance discussions between assessment candidates and their managers.

7. Individualised feedback to test candidates contributes to their personal development as it enhances self-insight, informs their career and development decisions and optimises interpersonal functioning. Feedback can be done through the provision of written reports, or more ideally, through personal discussions with HR practitioners and/or managers. At executive levels the involvement of a psychologist or an executive coach may be required. Group feedback can also be provided and create an opportunity for team development.

8. Performance evaluations in terms of job-related competencies further contribute to Intellectual Capital Management. 360 Degree online performance questionnaires, completed by the individuals themselves, their peers, managers and subordinates, may also contribute to employee performance, self-insight and engagement. Performance discussions aimed at realistic and honest feedback on the person’s strengths and development areas are aimed at culminating in a developmental plan. The CCM job analysis tool offers a 360 Degree competency evaluation questionnaire.

9. The above-mentioned competency-based approach to talent and intellectual capital management, will enable the integration and alignment of all HR functions, including:

  • recruitment
  • selection and placement or talent acquisition and retention
  • succession planning and promotion
  • performance management
  • individual and team development
  • team compilation
  • career guidance and development
  • job structuring
  • organisational development (OD) as well as
  • remuneration and compensation.

10. The entire approach should ideally be accompanied by a ROI evaluation and reporting.

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